Art In London: May 2014

By Silvia Baretta Last edited 122 months ago

Last Updated 28 April 2014

Art In London: May 2014

We look ahead at the best London art openings in May, organised by category and opening date. We hope you find it handy for planning ahead. Useful? Missing something? Pile of crap? Please let us know and we'll tweak the format in future instalments. This time we've added new sections for 'London-y' and 'Must See'.

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is on at The British Library 2May-19 August. See details below. Photo: Misty – well known 1978 dark female comic book of supernatural and horror stories. Photography (c) British Library Board.

Must See

2 May: British Library hosts Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, a major exhibition about comics and graphic novels, exhibiting works from names such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Jamie Hewlett — Gorillaz co-creator. For comic passionates and... anarchists! Read Londonist preview. Read Londonist review. £9.50/£7.50, prebook, until 19 August

20 May: Tate Britain hosts a major exhibition about Kenneth Clark (1903–1983): mainly art historian but also public servant, collector, patron and broadcaster. He's widely seen as one of the most influential figures in the popularisation of British art of the 20th century. £11.00/£9.50, prebook, until 10 August

22 May: Ancient Lives, New Discoveries unveils hidden secrets and reconstructs the life of eight mummies who used to live along the Nile Valley over 4,000 years ago. Take a journey into history at the British Museum. £10/£8, prebook, until 30 September

22 May: Prix Pictet, the Prize for Photography and Sustainability, is on display at The Victoria & Albert Museum for a few weeks. Eleven internationally famous photographers show projects on the theme of earth consumption. Free, until 14 June

26 May: Reception, Rupture and Return is a free long-term display at Tate Britain about the role of the life model for the artist, the relationship between these two subjects and the changing status of life drawing from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Free, until 12 October

Architecture & Design

1 May: Explore the relationship between architecture and jewellery at the Platform Gallery, with the exhibition Space Craft: Architecture Meets Making. The display is connected to COLLECT, the international art fair for contemporary objects taking place at the Saatchi Gallery (9-12 May). Free, until 1 June

4 May: Anise Gallery displays works from the Society of Architectural Illustration's latest book Drawing on Architecture, which is also the title of the exhibition. Expect a rich variety of drawing, which shares a focus on architecture. On Saturday 3 May from 6.30pm, night of the private view, there will be a live performance from three award winning young musicians: Jenni Hogan (flute), Rosanna Ter-berg (flute) and Olivia Jageurs (harp). Free, until 25 May

8 May: Enjoy a solo exhibition about British designer David Pearson, well known for his series of Penguin book cover designs, who recently played a key role in the re-emergence of the publishing company. Discover his world at the Kemistry Gallery in Shoreditch. Free, until 28 June

14 May: The Design Museum dedicates an exhibition to Argentinian designer Daniel Weil, famous for his series of inventive objects, products and interiors. This exhibition focuses on Weil's personal process of design: how he interprets sources, chooses projects, uses colour and creates form. £12.40/£9.30 (tickets include admission to the museum), just turn up, until 31 August

30 May: The Royal Academy of Arts pays homage to architect Norman Shaw, who contributed to the renovation of the Royal Academy itself. See a fascinating array of Shaw's artworks: from working drawings to dazzling perspectives. The display takes place in the Tennant Gallery and Architecture Space. Free, until 26 October

See London-y drawings taking life at the Drawing Room. See details below


27 May: Artist Aleksandra Mir and her team of assistants take over the entire Drawing Room art space and give life to a giant artwork. The live drawing installation will be entirely made with marker pens, created during the first days of the exhibition, then it will be left on display. The main theme of the artwork will be London and its architecture. Free, until 19 July

30 May: The F Word Project displays a series of comic books — otherwise called graphic fables — by Maureen Burdock, taking place at Space Station Sixty-Five in Kennington. Each fable features a unique common heroine negotiating a world that still legitimises various forms of violence and


9 May: Saatchi Gallery hosts this year's Collect: International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. Galleries from all around the world showcase work of museum quality from their portfolio of artists, showing their best design ideas. £12, prebook, until 12 May

15 May: The 20/21 International Art Fair takes place at the Royal College of Arts just for three days. Defining itself as a boutique fair, you will find here modern and contemporary art from the UK and around the world. £8, just turn up, until 18 May

29 May: Free Range 2014 is a two-month event that features graduate art and design shows at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. The collective event shows young talents and includes: design week, fashion shows, photography week, design+art week and interiors+architecture week. Free, until 14 July

30 May: Chelsea Old Town Hall hosts the Untitled Artists Fair, entirely run and owned by artists. The event is entirely free to attend and artists sell directly their works to the public, free of commissions. Private view is on the 30 May, and you can book tickets in advance both for the private view and the other two days. Free, prebook, until 1 June


1 May: See drawing of London that looks like an intricate net of wires at the Curious Duke Gallery. Architect-Artist Tannaz Oroumchi's first UK solo show Hectified interpretates the city as a playground. Free, until 31 May

2 May: Saving a Century is a touring exhibition that shows the Victorian Society’s most remarkable campaigns, among them the battles for Liverpool's Albert Dock, St Pancras station, the Foreign Office and the much-regretted Euston Arch. See unique archive photographs and material from throughout the Victorian Society’s fifty years of fighting for historic buildings at the Walthamstow Library. Free, until 31 May

9 May: From Bow to Biennale displays the East London Group’s works at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow. A collection of paintings and archival material that explores the transformation of a group of working class East End painters, firemen and basket weavers into a group of world renowned artists. A way to discover a part of East London's history. Free, until 13 July

9 May: Grade II listed Belair House in Dulwich opens to the public just for a few days, as part of the Dulwich Festival. The historical building hosts a one-off art and design exhibition curated by arts duo Cavaliero Finn, featuring works from up-and-coming artists and designers. Themed connected events will take place: artists' talks, a workshop for children and a Q&A with interior designers. Free, just turn up, just until 11 May

16 May: The title says it all: Life in the City is the painting exhibition that focuses on daily life activities in our capital. Paintings exhibited are by Deptford-born Trevor Burgees, whose portraits of everyday people doing everyday things in London are a true social exploration. Free, until 13 June

22 May: Canal Project gallery in Haggesrton hosts Andrew Cross exhibition, Every Seat. The photographer photographed, two years ago, the stage of London’s Royal Opera House as seen from every single seat in the house. Exhibited for the first time you can see a small selection of the 2.500 resulting images. Free, until 22 June


2 May: cueB Gallery presents This is the Tunes and Whispered, John Duckworth’s debut exhibition in London. The exhibition features seven large format paintings that explore a dialogue between Eastern Buddhism and Western consumerism, exploring thematic concepts and questions of identity, purpose and perspective. Free, until 1 June

2 May: German painter Juliane Hundertmark holds a solo exhibition, Strange Animals, at the Knight Webb Gallery Brixton. Enter a world of mythical and rebellious creatures from her imaginary world, which are represented on a theatrical and disturbing background. Free, until 31 May

9 May: Kensington and Chelsea College presents Hidden, a three-day exhibition in a unique London historical venue. See the artworks by Fine Art students on show at the Crypt Gallery inside St Pancras Church, on Euston Road. Don't miss the private view which will take place on Thursday 8 May (free, prebook, 6pm-9pm). Free, only until 11 May

13 May: Artist Annie Kevans presents her solo exhibition Woman and the History of Art at The Fine Art Society. You may remember her as she's currently exhibiting her paintings as part of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from Sidewalk to the Catwalk, on show at Barbican Art Centre until 25 August. Free, until 6 June

21 May: See paintings by John Monks at Long & Ryle gallery, who has been described as one of the most important painters working in Britain today. We saw his solo show last year and we're sure you won't be disappointed by this year's exhibition. Free, until 26 August

22 May: Somerset House's Inigo Rooms host Art & Life: The Paintings of Beryl Bainbridge, an exhibition organised by King's College Cultural Institute. The exhibition focuses on the artworks made by the writer and presents a rich programme of connected events. Free, until 19 October

22 May: Find some Renaissance-inspired paintings with a futuristic twist at The Art Cabin gallery in Southfields. Painter Henrietta Simon's exhibition Scenario will take you to another dimension of  post-apocalyptic flavour. Free, until 15 June

23 May: Maze lovers should see the artworks by French painter Bernard Frize, on display at Simon Lee Gallery. The paintings are taken from a single series and they re-visit one of his earlier works: a labyrinthine painting made in 1986 on the ceiling of the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Free, until 24 June

Sony World Photography Awards take place at Somerset House, 1-18 May. Details below


1 May: Darrell Berry is a London-based photographer who documents underground nightlife and performance, whose work has been published internationally. This solo exhibition at Richmix presents scenes from the alternativeness of the East End's nightlife to the glamour of London Fashion Week, as part of Looking Outside My Window (see more below under Video, Performance & Mixed Media category). Free, until 31 May

1 May: Sony World Photography Awards select the best photographs from an average of 140,000 entries from all over the world and takes them to Somerset House. Get some real pleasure for your eyes. Read Londonist review. £7.50/£5, prebook, until 18 May

2 May: The Photographers' Gallery presents Regeneration, a survey of works by six image-makers who try to push boundaries of photography. All the artists share an interest in the sculpture potential of photography and use of different media. Free, until 6 July

2 May: In 1968 a popular uprising happened all across Europe: people were protesting to obtain basic civil rights. This photographic exhibition brings together the works of two photographers who told that revolution through images, Bruno Barbey and Ian Berry, in Paris and Prague. The Spring Of 1968, A Tale Of Two Cities is on display at Atlas Gallery. Free, until 14 June

2 May: Maria Stenfors Gallery hosts the solo show of German-born artist Philip Newcombe, who gives everyday objects a new artistic meaning. His work on the meaning of 'democratic' objects is reminiscent of what some of the Dada avant-garde artists used to do. Free, until 7 June

2 May: Find some timeless and enigmatic photographs by Dan Holdsworth at Pippy Houldsworth gallery. In this exhibition the artist explores the relationship between mapping, photography and visual perception. Free, until 31 May

8 May: British photographer Gary Nicholls started from the Victorian fairground attractions of The Imaginarium to develop his photographic neo-gothic fairy story. This fantastical tale celebrates the redemption of one woman’s journey from ruination to salvation and Arch Collective art space shows photos of the project. Free, until 21 May

9 May: Discover the architectural painting of Ben Johnson at Alan Cristea Gallery and get confused by his highly-precise perspectives. He mixes painting with computer design — in the past he reproduced a panoramic view from the National Gallery (where he exhibited) that connected to Venetian painter Canaletto. Free, until 7 June

10 May: Living Dolls at The Little Black Gallery marks the 10th anniversary since Irish photographer Bob Carlos Clarke's final exhibition in 2004, Love-Dolls Never Die, before his death in 2006. It includes a selection of images from the Love-Dolls series and some special one-off photographs from the archives. Free, until 21 June

12 May: Internationally famous photographer Steve McCurry tells us about his ongoing relationship with Afghanistan's people, culture and landscape at the Beetles and Huxley gallery. He's the author of the iconic portrait The Afghan Girl, which become a worldwide symbol since its first publication back in 1985. Read Londonist review. Free, until 7 June

16 May: After the popular David Bailey exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery earlier this year, all about celebrities, Daniel Blau Gallery presents Bailey: For Real. See a selection of relatively unexplored yet equally intriguing Bailey photographs. Free, until 28 June

22 May: Even if it lasts only three days, the London Photo Festival is quite a unique photographic event. It takes place in the crypt of St George The Martyr Church, in Borough, showcasing artworks from young and independent photographers. This year's theme is street photography. Free, prebook, just until 24 May

23 May: Photographer Richard Long shows images of his journeys through England, Switzerland and Antarctica at the Lisson Gallery. Expect stunning natural landscapes. Free, until 12 July

See Lynn Chadwick retrospective at Blain|Southern gallery, 1 May-28 June. Details below


1 May: Blain|Southern gallery dedicates a retrospective to the 50-year-long career of London-born Lynn Chadwick, famous for his giant metal sculptures during the post-war period, who exhibited at Venice Biennale in 1952. In addition to this, the Royal Academy of Arts will show four monumental steel beasts in its courtyard (until 16 May). Free, until 28 June

14 May: Jerwood Encounters: TTTT is an exhibition that aims to respond to recent concerns among artists who are exploring sculpture and screen-based practices in a new way. The exhibition focuses on exploring the influence of the contemporary world on approaches to the making of sculpture and three-dimensional artwork, taking place at the Jerwood Space in Southwark. Free, until 22 June  

16 May: Scream gallery hosts the solo exhibition of eclectic Chinese artist Jacky Tsai. Even if he defines himself as a collage artist, his works go beyond that and mix inspirations from his culturally different backgrounds. Free, until 20 June

23 May: American artist Richard Jackson shows his cartoon-y and colourful plastic sculptures at Hauser & Wirth gallery in Oxford Circus. Read Londonist review. Free, until 26 July

23 May: Find a monumental installation of bicycles at Lisson Gallery as part of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's latest exhibition. On display are a number of hand-carved and domestic-scale copies of the artist's personal objects, which try to recreate significant parts of his life through the artworks. Free, until 12 July

Video, Performance & Mixed Media

1 May: The Belfry and North Gallery inside St John's church in Bethnal Green hosts a multimedia exhibition which focuses on the tower as a symbol of belief, death, power and love. See works by Japanese Miyuki Kasahara and Scottish Jude Cowan Montague: there will be an art installation, moving imagery, poetry and performance interpreting stories from Lancashire and Tokyo. Free, until 5 June

1 May: Trafačka, a Prague based art collective, comes to Red Gallery in Shoreditch to showcase work by 39 international artists exhibiting graphics, paintings, photographs, mixed media and installations. The exhibition will host a free screening and music set on Saturday 3 May as well (free, just turn up, 7pm). Free, until 31 May

1 May: The beauty, vitality and contradiction inherent to transitional states is the main focus of Penumbra, a collective exhibition taking place at Deptford Gallery. The exhibition includes a programme of free events like workshops, talks and performances. Free, until 18 May

1 May: Don't know what to do during the Bank Holiday weekend? Then head to Richmix for Looking Outside My Window, a five-day arts festival coordinated by internationally famous Tupac Martir. Expect music, fashion designers, live performances, cinema and... Mexican food. The full programme is available on the Richmix website, prices may vary but all the events are cheap. £1 (for most events), just turn up, only until 5 May

2 May: Sirens is a solo exhibition showcasing mixed media artworks by Rosie Emerson at the Hung-Up gallery. The collection of works displayed derives from the historic technique of cyanotype printing, developed in the early 19th century and used by engineers to reproduce notes and diagrams known as blue prints. Free, until 8 June

2 May: Featuring the most promising Art graduates in the UK, the Catlin Art Prize 2014 is a free art exhibition not to be missed. Taking place at the Londonewcastle Project Space, it showcases brand new work by seven artists, each chosen for their potential to make a significant impact in the art world over the next decade and beyond. Read Londonist review. Free, until 24 May

6 May: 80s Youth - the Best of Times, the Worst of Times is the temporary display showing re-imagined movie posters celebrating the best (and worst) of 80s cinema, upstairs at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. Free, until 2 June

9 May: Crisis, the national homelessness charity, has organised a different art event: they will display major artworks by leading contemporary artists including Martin Creed, Mark Wallinger and George Shaw together with works from people who have experienced homelessness. The aim is to create a unique combined reflection on the theme of home, in an exhibition which will take place both at The Bermondsey Project (free, 9-23 May, 1-6pm daily) and at The Strand Gallery (free, 30 May-8 June, 11am-6 pm daily)

16 May: See works by a group of Algerian artists focusing on and interpreting the concepts of time and space. Intimate Spaces: from the Intimate to the World is on display at The Mosaic Rooms in Earls Court. Free, until 28 June

19 May: Richmix cultural space in Shoreditch hosts an exhibition focused on social and historical themes, The World is With Us. This is a ground-breaking research and exhibition project bringing together Palestinian, Arab, and international film and poster art from the era of the Palestinian revolution, 1968-1980. Free, until 15 June

Find more about what's on in London, visit Londonist's Museum & Galleries & Art & Photography pages.